US 20060281360 A1
A connector system for coupling electrosurgical instruments to electrosurgical generators is provided. The connector system includes a plug portion connectable to an electrosurgical instrument, the plug portion of the electrosurgical instrument having a shape specific to a particular manufacturer; and a plug receptacle portion supported on the electrosurgical generator; the plug receptacle portion being shaped to receive the plug portion of the electrosurgical instrument of the particular manufacturer and the plug portion of the electrosurgical instrument of any other manufacturer.
1. A connector system for connecting an electrosurgical instrument to an electrosurgical generator, the connector system comprising:
a plug portion connectable to the electrosurgical instrument, said plug portion including a plurality of pins and a prong that extend therefrom, said prong adapted to retain one or more electrical contacts therein; and
a plug receptacle portion disposed within the generator, said plug receptacle portion defining a recess for receiving at least a portion of said plug portion therein, said plug receptacle portion including a plurality of apertures for receiving respective ones of said plurality of a prong receptacle for receiving said prong.
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27. A connector system for coupling electrosurgical instruments to electrosurgical generators, the connector system comprising:
a first plug portion connectable to a first electrosurgical instrument, the first plug portion of the first electrosurgical instrument having a first configuration; and
a plug receptacle portion supported on an electrosurgical generator, the plug receptacle portion being configured to receive the first plug portion of the first electrosurgical instrument and further configured to receive a second plug portion of a second electrosurgical instrument.
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1. Technical Field
The present disclosure relates to electrosurgical instrument systems and, more particularly, to connector systems for selectively connecting electrosurgical instruments and electrosurgical generators to one another.
Electrosurgical instrument systems have become widely used by surgeons in recent years. Accordingly, a need has developed for equipment that is easy to handle and operate, is reliable and is safe. By and large, most electrosurgical instrument systems typically include a hand-held electrosurgical instrument or pencil electrically connected to a source of electrosurgical energy (e.g., an electrosurgical generator). The electrosurgical instrument transfers radio-frequency (RF) electrical energy to a tissue site. The electrosurgical energy is returned to the electrosurgical generator via a return electrode pad positioned under a patient (i.e., a monopolar system configuration) or a smaller return electrode positionable in bodily contact with or immediately adjacent to the surgical site (i.e., a bipolar system configuration). The waveforms produced by the electrosurgical generator yield a predetermined electrosurgical effect known generally as electrosurgical figuration.
Recently, electrosurgical instrument systems have been increasingly provided with coupling and/or connecting systems (e.g., a plug) for removably connecting the electrosurgical instrument to the electrosurgical generator. Typically, the electrosurgical instrument is provided with a so called “male” connector while the electrosurgical generator is provided with the corresponding “female” connector.
Since electrosurgery requires controlled application of radio frequency energy to an operative tissue site, it is important that the appropriate electrosurgical generator be correctly and/or properly mated with the electrosurgical instrument for the specific electrosurgical procedure. Due to the variety of operative, electrosurgical procedures, requiring various levels of radio frequency energy delivery from an attached instrument, issues arise with the mismatching of electrosurgical instruments and electrosurgical generators.
Accordingly, a need exists for a connecting system, for electrosurgical generators which allow various surgical instruments to be selectively connected to corresponding electrosurgical generators.
The present disclosure relates to connector systems for connecting an electrosurgical instrument to an electrosurgical generator. According to one particularly advantageous embodiment of the present disclosure, the connector system includes a plug portion connected to the electrosurgical instrument and including a profile or shape which is selectively mateable with a plug receptacle portion. Advantageously, the plug receptacle portion is retained in the electrosurgical generator and is backward compatible, i.e., able to receive both old flying lead electrosurgical instruments or 2-pin, 3-pin or 4-pin electrical instruments and able to selectively receive enhanced surgical devices with multiple electrical connections.
In one embodiment, the plug portion includes a plug housing having a power pin extending therefrom. The power pin is advantageously positioned closer to a first side edge of the plug housing than a second side edge thereof, wherein the second side edge is opposite the first side edge.
Advantageously, the plug portion includes at least one position pin extending from the plug housing. Preferably, a first position pin extends from a center of the plug housing in substantially the same direction as the power pin. A second position pin may be included which extends from the plug housing at a location off-set from the center thereof and in the same direction as the power pin.
The connector system may also advantageously include a prong extending from the plug housing and substantially in the same direction as the power pin. The prong is desirably positioned closer to a first side edge of the plug housing than a second side edge thereof, wherein the second side edge is opposite the first side edge thereof.
The prong preferably includes a plurality of electrical contacts which provide electrical continuity to the electrosurgical generator. In one embodiment, the prong has a generally L-shaped cross-sectional profile for use with a six (6) contact electrosurgical system. In another embodiment, the prong has a generally rectilinear cross section or profile for use with a four (4) contact system. Advantageously, the L-shaped cross-sectional profile blocks insertion of a plug portion into the plug receptacle portion which is upside down. Other shapes are also envisioned, e.g., generally rectangular, for lesser contact systems, e.g., a four (4) contact system.
Preferably, the plug receptacle portion is operatively retained in the electrosurgical generator and defines a recess for receipt of the plug portion therein. The plug receptacle portion advantageously includes a prong receptacle formed therein, the prong receptacle being shaped and dimensioned to receive the prong therein. It is envisioned that the plug receptacle portion can include a plurality of apertures formed therein for receiving the power pin and the position pins. Preferably, each aperture includes a contact terminal operatively associated therewith. The plug receptacle portion advantageously includes at least one contact pin extending therethrough which is positioned to contact a respective one of the electrical contacts of the prong.
The prong desirably has an overall width which is less than about 0.43 inches and an overall height which is less than about 0.38 inches for the L-shaped six (6) contact prong. For prongs with less than six (6) contacts, e.g., four (4) contacts, the overall height may be less. The prong receptacle desirably has an overall width which is greater than about 0.39 inches and an overall height which is greater than about 0.324 inches.
In one embodiment of the connector system, the connector system includes a tactile feedback mechanism which provides positive tactile feedback to the user that the plug portion has been properly inserted into the plug receptacle portion. Advantageously, the tactile feedback mechanism includes a first post extending through and pivotally supported on the plug receptacle portion and a second post extending through and supported on the plug receptacle portion. Preferably, the first post is spring biased. The tactile feedback mechanism also includes a linkage member which extends between the first post and the second post. The linkage member includes a first arm which extends radially from the first post and a second arm which is supported on and extends from the second post.
A camming pin extends through a distal end of the first arm. The camming pin preferably includes a first portion slidably receivable in an elongate slot formed in the second arm. A second portion is slidably received in an arcuate slot formed in the prong receptacle. The second portion is extendable to engage a groove formed in a lower surface of the prong. A spring is positioned to bias the first portion to a distal-most position in the elongate slot.
In one embodiment, the plug portion includes symbology provided on a surface thereof which includes information regarding the operative parameters of the electrosurgical instrument.
The present disclosure also relates to a connector system for connecting an electrosurgical instrument to an electrosurgical generator which includes a plug portion and a plug receptacle portion disposed on the generator. The plug portion includes a plurality of mechanical interfaces which selectively mate with a corresponding plurality of mechanical interfaces in the plug receptacle portion. A tactile feedback mechanism is included for providing positive feedback to the user that the mechanical interfaces of the plug portion have been properly mated with the corresponding mechanical interfaces of the plug receptacle portion.
The tactile feedback mechanism includes a pair of first and second posts extending through and pivotally supported on the plug receptacle portion and a linkage member extending between the first post and the second post. The linkage member has a first arm extending radially from the first post and a second arm supported on and extending from the second post. A camming pin is included which extends through a distal end of the first arm. Upon insertion of the plug portion into the receptacle portion, the camming pin rides along a slot disposed in the second arm to initially compress a spring. After a predetermined point of the camming pin riding along the slot, the spring subsequently expands to drive the camming pin through the slot thus towing the prong portion into prong receptacle portion.
Other objects and features of the present disclosure will become apparent from consideration of the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
Other objects and features of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description considered in connection with the accompanied drawings. It should be understood, however, that the drawings are designed for the purpose of illustration only and not as a definition of the limits of the invention.
Embodiments of the presently disclosed connector system for electrosurgical generators are described in detail herein with reference to the drawing figures wherein like reference numerals identify similar or identical elements. In the drawings and in the description which follows, the term “proximal”, as is traditional, will refer to the end of the apparatus and/or device which is closest to the operator, while the term “distal” will refer to the end of the apparatus and/or device which is furthest from the operator.
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Electrosurgical pencil 12 includes a housing 16 configured and adapted to support a blade receptacle 18 at a distal end thereof which, in turn, receives a replaceable electrocautery blade 20 therein. Electrosurgical pencil 12 further includes at least one activation button 22 supported on an outer surface of housing 16. Activation button(s) 22 are operable to control the supply of RF electrical energy to blade 20 from electrosurgical generator 14.
By way of example only, electrosurgical generator 14 may be any one of the following, or equivalents thereof: the “FORCE FX”, “FORCE 2” or “FORCE 4” generators manufactured by Valleylab, Inc. of Boulder, Colo. It is contemplated that electrosurgical generator 14 can be preset to selectively provide an appropriate first predetermined RF signal (e.g., about 1 to 300 watts) for tissue cutting and an appropriate second predetermined RF signal (e.g., about 1 to 120 watts) for tissue coagulation. However, as will be described in greater detail below, electrosurgical generator 14 preferably is adapted to automatically configure itself to transmit particular RF signals depending on the particular electrosurgical instrument connected thereto.
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Plug portion 102 includes a power pin 108 extending distally from housing 106 at a location preferably between first half-section 106 a and second half-section 106 b. Preferably, power pin 108 is positioned to be off center, i.e., closer to one side edge of housing 106 than the other. Plug portion 102 further includes at least one, preferably, a pair of position pins 112 also extending from housing 106. Position pins 112 are preferably positioned between half-sections 106 a and 106 b and are oriented in the same direction as power pin 108. Desirably, a first position pin 112 a is positioned in close proximity to a center of housing 106 and a second position pin 112 b is positioned to be off center and in close proximity to an opposite side edge of housing 106 as compared to power pin 108. Pins 112 a, 112 b and 108 are preferably located on plug portion 102 at positions which correspond to the pin positions of earlier connections which are compatible to earlier known generators.
Plug portion 102 further includes a prong 114 extending from housing 106. In particular, prong 114 includes a body portion 116 (see
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Since prong 114 extends from second half-section 106 b of housing 106 of plug portion 102, plug portion 102 will not enter receptacle portion 104 unless plug portion 102 is in the proper orientation. In this manner, it is ensured that power pin 108 is in electrical contact with corresponding contact terminal 138 a. As can be appreciated, connectors which do not include prongs 114 are still connectable to receptacle portion 104 (i.e., backward compatible). However, electrical contacts 110 associated with prong 114 are designed to further enhance the electrical connection between the instrument and the generator and give the surgeon more feedback at the operative site. For example, commonly-owned and concurrently-filed U.S. Patent Application No. [11697(203-3624)] entitled “ELECTROSURGICAL PENCIL WITH IMPROVED CONTROLS” and PCT Application Serial No. PCT/US03/22900 entitled “ELECTROSURGICAL PENCIL WITH DRAG SENSING CAPABILITY” describe several features which would typically utilize the additional electrical contacts 110 in prong 114 to enhance feedback to the surgeon at the operative site, e.g., mode or power settings or sensors for movement, position, drag or temperature.
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Tactile feedback mechanism 150 includes a first post 152 extending through and pivotally supported on receptacle portion 104. Preferably, first post 152 is spring biased by a spring member 154. Tactile feedback mechanism 150 further includes a second post 156 extending through and supported on receptacle portion 104. A linkage member 158 extends between first post 152 and second post 156. Linkage member 158 includes a first arm 158 a extending radially from first post 152 and a second arm 158 b supported on and extending from second post 156.
A camming pin 160 extends through a distal end of first arm 158 a and includes a first portion 160 a which is slidably receivable in an elongate slot 162 (see
In use, with camming pin 160 initially positioned near the entrance of prong receptacle 140, as prong 114 enters prong receptacle 140, second portion 160 b of camming pin 160 enters into and engages groove 148 of prong 114. As prong 114 is further advanced, camming pin 160 rides along arcuate slot 164 and elongate slot 162, thereby compressing spring 166. Once prong 114 is advanced beyond a point of criticality, spring 166 expands and thus drives camming pin 160 through the remainder of arcuate slot 164 thereby drawing prong 114 into prong receptacle 140.
It is envisioned that spring 154 may provide an additional safety feature as well. For example, spring 154 is provided in pin 152 to allow a mating chamfer 153 on pin 152 (
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Aztec Code is a high density two dimensional matrix style bar code symbology that can encode up to 3750 characters from the entire 256 byte ASCII character set. The Aztec code symbol is built on a square grid with a bulls-eye pattern at its center. Data is encoded in a series of “layers” that circle around the bulls-eye pattern. Each additional layer completely surrounds the previous layer thus causing the symbol to grow in size as more data is encoded yet the symbol remains square.
In this manner, each electrosurgical instrument 12 is provided with a characteristic symbology 170 containing information regarding the operative parameters for that particular electrosurgical instrument, such as, for example, the operative RF energy setting, the operative waveform setting, and the algorithm for interpreting signals on contact(s) 110 and pin(s) 146.
Connector system 100 can further include a symbology reader and/or scanner (not shown) operatively supported in receptacle portion 104. Accordingly, when plug portion 102 is mated with receptacle portion 104, the reader scans and reads the operative parameters contained in the characteristic symbology 170 and transmits the operative parameters to electrosurgical generator 14 which in turn automatically configures and/or sets itself to supply operative parameters (e.g., preset ranges, preferred settings and the like) to electrosurgical instrument 12. Alternatively, electrosurgical generator 14 can be engaged with a data table which, once the instrument is identified, will transmit the appropriate RF parameter to the identified instrument. In addition, as described above, symbology 170 can also be used as a positive engagement mechanism. For example, the symbology must be aligned or in a position to allow the instrument to operate or to allow the instrument to operate in an enhanced mode.
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It is envisioned that connector system 100 can include a positive engagement mechanism configured and adapted to ensure proper engagement of prong portion 102 in receptacle portion 104 prior to allowing activation of electrosurgical instrument 12. For example, the positive engagement mechanism may include an optical coupler pair (e.g., an optical coupler member operatively associated with prong portion 102 and a cooperating coupler member operatively associated with receptacle portion 104, for example, reflective diodes), mechanical coupler pairs, electromechanical coupler pairs, and/or bar code readers. In addition, the positive engagement mechanism can be configured and adapted to not be activated and/or triggered by insertion of “flying leads”, from prior art instruments, into receptacle portion 104 thereby preventing activation of such instruments.
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Plug portion 202 includes a prong 214 extending from housing 206. In particular, prong 214 includes a first portion 216 extending from first half-section 206 a of housing 206 and a second portion 218 extending from second half-section 206 b of housing 206. Preferably, second portion 218 of prong 214 has a width which is greater than a width of first portion 216. In this manner, when first and second half-sections 206 a, 206 b of housing 206 are joined to one another, prong 214 has an L-shaped transverse cross-sectional profile. In particular, prong 214 is configured and dimensioned to be received in complementary shaped prong receptacle 140 of receptacle portion 104 (see
Prong 214 includes a plurality of contacts 210 exposed along a front surface thereof. In particular, prong 214 includes a first set of contacts 210 a, preferably two, exposed along a front surface of first portion 216 of prong 214 and a second set of contacts 210 b, preferably, four, exposed along a front surface of second portion 218 of prong 214.
Accordingly, the first set of contacts 210 a electrically engage pins 146 extending from openings 142 formed in upper portion 140 b of prong receptacle 140. In addition, the second set of contacts 210 b electrically engage pins 146 extending from opening 142 formed in lower portion 140 a of prong receptacle 140.
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Receptacle portion 204 includes a prong receptacle 240 having a substantially rectilinear cross-sectional profile. Prong receptacle 240 is configured and dimensioned to receive prong 114 and/or prong 214 therein. Prong receptacle 240 includes a plurality of openings 242 formed in a rear wall 244 thereof. Preferably, two rows of openings 242 are formed, a first row including three openings and a second row including four openings. A pin 146 (not shown) can extend from each opening 242 for electrical engagement with contacts 210.
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Second side portion 308 b includes a plurality of contacts 310 exposed along the distal-most surface thereof. In particular, second side portion 308 b includes eight contacts 310 exposed along a distal-most surface thereof. Preferably, contacts 310 are in the same plane as power pin 108.
It is envisioned that electrosurgical generator 14 includes a receptacle portion (not shown) configured and dimensioned to receive and mate with plug portion 302.
While several embodiments of the disclosure have been shown in the drawings, it is not intended that the disclosure be limited thereto, as it is intended that the disclosure be as broad in scope as the art will allow and that the specification be read likewise. Therefore, the above description should not be construed as limiting, but merely as exemplifications of preferred embodiments.
Those skilled in the art will envision other modifications within the scope and spirit of the claims appended hereto.